What is a Calligram?

Friends! Callligrams are so much fun to create. They are shapes of people, animals, places or things in which the words form the image. I have a few that have been in the public since 2005, but Fall 2023, I was asked to make another commemorative print for the Women’s Night of Worship for Riverwest Church in Lake Oswego, Oregon. My assignment was John 1:14 as the Bible Study was focusing on the Book of John. The design was to be reds, greens and cozy….thinking particularly about the word ‘dwell’ as Jesus came in the flesh to dwell among us. My daughter said when she read the verse, it made her think of a door. So I drew a funny little cabin. I showed it to my group leader, Jan, and she suggested that I design the cabin to look like the Women’s Ministry leader’s cabin in Montana. Here is the result….500 were gifted to attendees at Christmas.

Cabin Print with John 1:4. Towards the bottom, I was compelled to add a particular scripture below the cabin. Think about it..if Christ came in the flesh and dwelt among us and He was full of Grace and Truth, what does that mean to us? Well, in part it means that the God of Glory came to be with us, to offer us a second chance if we sincerely ask for His forgiveness. So it made sense to put the verse….’Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with me.” Can you picture Him, the God of the universe, knocking at your door? He loves you and wants to spend time with you. He offers you this gift.

Now, onto some older calligrams.

Back in 2005, when Abbey Press was still in business, I was asked to create a horse with the words “What Horses Teach Us” for a sweatshirt. The wording that they gave me, had advice for people with a horse twist. The words were terms or expressions that people use to refer to horses. This is my first calligram that went out to the public on a sweatshirt.

I loved making this, so Abbey Press agreed that I could make another horse, if I revised the wording. Below is my horse along with my wording.

I had such a great response that I designed a dog and a cat. One Thanksgiving when my kids and I were visiting friends at their lake house, we all sat around and thought of phrases specific to dogs, cats, pigs, birds and trees – advice to people with an animal twist. We had a hilarious time with everyone’s witty words. I have created the Dog and Cat calligrams, but yet to do the other 3. Below are the results. You may purchase them as framable prints or greeting cards on my website – links below. (Red is toned down in dog print). Prints do not have my website written on them.


CAT, Perfect Advice for a Cat Lover’s Life

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